A “For Sale” sign posted next to a narrow driveway near the Highway 49/Highway 193 intersection might not attract much attention but those who make the turn will travel down Bennett Valley Lane and back in time.
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The Larned-Miller House, though to be constructed around 1875 and once owned by the Bennett family, has escaped the fate of many other old homes that were torn down and replaced with stucco structures topped with satellite dishes. Thanks to its caring owners, the two-story home nestled on 4.3 acres looks like time has barely touched it. The meticulous grounds, winding paths and large walnut tree at the center of the front yard add to the property’s Old Placerville charm.
And though it’s no longer surrounded by orchards, the property offers solitude and a glimpse of the past.
“The early history of the area is a history of mining and farming, working side by side (and) both contributing to the growth of Placerville,” historian Marilyn Ferguson wrote in a history piece prepared for the Bennetts when they bought the property in 1969.
The property’s first owner of record was E.W. Garvitt, who grew apples on Placerville’s north side. Ferguson noted that Garvitt grew such superior fruit “that at the 1862 county fair, he won second place for 30 apple varieties.”
Later, a portion of Garvitt’s property became the Old and Young Harmon Mines.
Wellington Larned purchased Garvitt’s land in 1872, merging it with his own property in the city, and built a home on 1875. “This is the only information about a house on the Larned Ranch,” Ferguson noted. “I have found no reference to a fire or new structures on the property.
“In many cases, houses in the Placerville area were constructed then over the years added on to,” she continued. “Roof lines changed; new foundations (replaced) original ones ….”
In 1901, Emma Larned, now a widow, sold the ranch to David Williams. He held on to the property for about six years before selling it to Annie Fuller, who sold it to Joseph Coqouz in 1908 for $3,000. Fred Fisher became the next owner and he sold the property to Jake Miller in 1918. The house became the “Old Jake Miller” place by 1943, according to Ferguson, when Armin Schreiber brought it. By this time, the orchards and mines had all been sold off and only a few acres remained.
When the Bennetts, who had eight children, purchased the home they did a lot of work on the property, adding gardens that have beautifully matured and a built-in pool with gazebo. The home underwent another renovation when the homeowners who followed the Bennetts pulled up the carpet and pulled down the wallpaper, taking the five-bedroom, three-bathroom home back to more historic roots. Some of the old, wavy glass still rests in panes along the gorgeous covered porch. The home also features remodeled bathrooms with claw-foot bathtubs, a fireplace in the master bedroom, an updated kitchen and a wine cellar. There is also a one-room cottage and carport on the property.
Lyon Real Estate Realtors Trudy Meyer and Annette Hawley present the home/property for $849,000. An open house is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m on Saturday, May 19. For more information call 916-804-4217 or 530-295-4446.